Harsh Sentences for Iranian Student Activist Arash Sadeghi

Updated: May 1, 2019

An appeals court in Iran has upheld the 15-year prison sentence of student activist Arash Sadeghi for “collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” “spreading lies in cyberspace,” and “insulting the Founder of the Islamic Republic [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini].”

Sadeghi’s sentence was confirmed without taking into consideration Article 134 of Iran’s New Islamic Penal Code, which limits a prison term to the heaviest sentence of the most serious charge in cases of multiple charges.

Sadeghi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that his lawyer, Amir Raeesian, was not allowed to be present at the opening session of his trial. Raeesian was allowed to attend the second session but wasn’t permitted to read the case file. Before the appeals court hearing, Raeesian was only able to see a portion of the file.

Political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Iran are routinely subjected to due process violations such as denial of full access to counsel or a lawyer’s full access to case files.

“I was charged with ‘collusion against national security’ because I supported a group of poor students who had been denied education and for supporting leftist students and visiting families of those who had been killed, and for taking part in peaceful gatherings, such as . . . protests against the execution of Gholamreza Khosravi and gathering in support of [imprisoned women’s rights activist] Narges Mohammadi,” Sadeghi told the Campaign, adding that the verdicts were issued by Branch 54 of the Appeals Court.

Sadeghi’s wife, Golrokh Iraee, an accountant with no previous criminal record, has also been sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the state” and “insulting the Sacred.”

Sadeghi said that since their arrest, he and his wife have lost their livelihood and are relying on savings. He was forced to sell his share of the stationery store he coowned, and his wife was let go from her job.

“There’s nothing to back the charge of ‘insulting the Sacred’ against my wife. All she did was write stories, one of them about a person who did not believe in God. They really didn’t have a case against her. They just wanted to frame her,” Sadeghi said.